If you’re not traveling to see family this Thanksgiving, hosting an RV Friendsgiving is a great alternative for a stress-free celebration. For those of you staying in RV parks or campgrounds near friends, you should know how to host a Friendsgiving gathering in your RV.
How Many Friends Can You Host in Your RV?
First, you need to decide how many friends you’re comfortable hosting. This will largely be dictated by the size of your RV and the weather in your region.
If you’re hosting a warm-weather Friendsgiving, we recommend popping out your RV awning and setting up for an outdoor dinner. That way, you’ll keep your RV kitchen dedicated to meal prep and cooking instead of trying to make enough space to cook, eat and entertain inside.
For those hosting Friendsgiving in a colder location, you may be more limited to hosting a smaller group. As a rule of thumb, we’d recommend keeping your gathering to a maximum of 5 to 6 friends if hosting inside your RV.
If you have a slide-out, you may add a couple more friends to that total. Pick up a camping table to provide your guests with more comfortable indoor seating for your Friendsgiving gathering if this is the case.
Tips For Safe and Efficient Friendsgiving Cooking
Every year around this time, we hear at least one story about a mismanaged turkey. To keep your Friendsgiving safe and reduce the stress your feel to prepare an awesome meal, follow these tips for safe and efficient Friendsgiving cooking.
Clean Your RV Oven Before Cooking
If you’ve got any buildup in your RV oven, clean it out before cooking your Friendsgiving meal. Turn your oven off and take the oven racks out to soak in warm water for about 30 minutes.
Then use your RV vacuum to remove loose debris. From there, warm water and dish soap will suffice as a cleaning solution, but consider using a vinegar soak and the rough side of your sponge to remove any burnt residue.
Wipe everything dry with a clean microfiber cloth (racks included) and then replace the racks inside your oven. Properly cleaning your RV oven will help you avoid setting off your RV’s smoke alarm while cooking your Friendsgiving meal.
Prep as Much as You Can In Advance
If you plan and prep in advance, cooking your Friendsgiving bird will be the only thing you do on the actual day of your gathering. Even that can be prepped and seasoned in advance so you just pop it in the oven a few hours before you want to serve dinner.
If you’re providing dishes like mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole, there’s no reason why you can’t cook those dishes the day before and reheat them when the time comes. Your guests won’t be the wiser and you’ll enjoy more freedom to enjoy hosting rather than spending the entire day in the kitchen.
Utilize Additional Kitchen Appliances
Your RV probably came with a microwave, stovetop and oven, but you may need additional cooking ability. That’s why adding small portable kitchen appliances like air fryers and pressure cookers make a lot of sense when cooking for large groups.
Of course, you’ll need additional counter space for these appliances, which lends itself to the idea of setting up your dining table outside. You’ll also need to consider the wattage requirements for these appliances and you may need to stagger using them to avoid popping a circuit breaker by running too many at once.
Keep it Vented
Because you’ll most likely be cooking in your oven, on your stovetop, and in one or more of those smaller kitchen appliances, open at least one window and turn on one of your roof vent fans to allow smoke to escape and fresh air to circulate back in.
This will help you avoid setting off your smoke alarm and will keep your RV from overheating while you’re cooking. As an added safety precaution, make sure you know where your RV’s fire extinguisher is located just in case you run into a cooking emergency.
Clean As You Go and Ask For Help
Sometimes we forget about the cleaning requirements that come with Friendsgiving gatherings. We get excited about the eating and the socializing and then realize we have an overloaded sink once all our guests are gone.
Because RV’s tend to have smaller sinks, it really behooves you to clean as you go as much as possible. You also shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help from your guests on this front (or with meal prep in general). Sharing is caring during the holiday season and you should be able to relax a little and enjoy your party as well!
The Benefits of a Friendsgiving Potluck
RV kitchens generally have less space than residential kitchens. If you have one of the more spacious Class A motorhomes or fifth-wheel trailers, you may not have an issue, but if you have a smaller rig, consider organizing a Friendsgiving potluck.
Here are a few good reasons to go the potluck route when hosting Friendsgiving in an RV:
- You’ll spend less time cooking and more time socializing
- It’s easier to have all your dishes ready at the same time
- Everyone gets a sense of pride in bringing one of their favorite Thanksgiving dishes
- You might discover new Thanksgiving dishes that your family never makes
- It minimizes clean-up time because you can send everyone home with their dirty dishes
How To Organize a Friendsgiving Potluck?
Getting everyone on the same page is one of the most challenging aspects of organizing any potluck, regardless of the occasion. So here are a few tips that will help you avoid duplicate dishes and other communication issues for your Friendsgiving potluck:
Create Your Menu
As the host, it’s your responsibility to create a structure for friends to pick the dishes they want to bring. Come up with a menu of all the dishes you’d like to have for your gathering.
It’s a good idea for the host to pick the menu because you’ll have the best vision of how much space you really have in your RV. You’ll need to consider how you’ll set all these dishes out so that it’s as smooth as possible for everyone to serve themselves when the time comes.
Share Your Menu
Next, put that menu in a spreadsheet or send it in an email to all of your friends. We like the spreadsheet approach because guests can easily put their names next to their preferred dish instead of filling up your email inbox.
It also makes it easy for your procrastinating friends to make sure they don’t duplicate any dishes. Plus, it makes it easier for you to remember what you need to prep and it helps your friends keep track of what they’re bringing so they won’t reach out to confirm at the last minute.
Within your spreadsheet, create a column (or a separate page) for your guests to add suggestions. If they have family Thanksgiving recipes they really want to bring, it’s healthy to leave a little room for your menu to adapt.
If you’re going to have a Thanksgiving bird at your gathering, we feel that it’s customary for the host to cook it. So, exclude this item from your spreadsheet, as well as anything else you plan to prepare yourself.
Plan to Minimize Cleanup
To minimize cleanup, ask your friends to bring food storage containers so you can send everyone home with leftovers. Everyone loves holiday leftovers and the smaller size of RV refrigerators limits what you can keep anyway.
Also, request that everyone pack their dishes in recyclable cookware that can be disposed of after your meal. That way, you won’t have a massive pile of dishes in your sink after everyone heads home.
Friendsgiving Entertainment Ideas
While the meal is the focal point of your gathering, it’s great to have a few entertainment ideas in your back pocket. One of the best parts of Friendsgiving is catching up on what’s going on in everyone’s lives, but a good host provides several options to keep their guests entertained.
If you’re hosting a small gathering or the weather outside is frightful, indoor games might be your entertainment of choice. After everyone’s bellies are full, pull out your favorite board games or puzzles to pick the energy back up.
If you do host outdoor games before or after dinner, put up adequate outdoor lighting to create a safe environment. You can also impress your friends by setting up an outdoor mini bar and serving your favorite camping cocktails.
Utilizing Your RV’s Entertainment Center
If your crew is passionate about keeping up with NFL action during your gathering, this is where your RV’s outdoor entertainment center will come in handy. If your RV doesn’t have one, you can always put the games on your inside TVs and have them running in the background.
Keeping It Fun (and Delicious)
We hope these suggestions help you organize an amazing Friendsgiving this year. From all of us here at Good Sam, we wish everyone a Happy Friendsgiving and a joyous holiday season!